There are general screenings that every person should have to maintain their health. However, there are certain screenings that women need to have in order to maintain their reproductive health. So, what are some of those screenings and when should they start?
A PAP smear takes a scraping of the cells of the cervix. This checks for cancer or other problems with the cervix. It's usually done during the regular annual physical exam that you get from your OB/GYN. The doctor uses a little brush to get the cells, and it may cause a small pinch or a little bit of spotting. Generally, a woman should start getting her annual exam and PAP smear at about the age 18 or when she first becomes sexually active, whichever comes first.
When a woman starts being sexually active, she should start getting STI screenings, especially for chlamydia and gonorrhea, every year at her annual pelvic exam. This is especially true if there are any kinds of risky sexual behaviors or the woman isn't using safe sex practices like using condoms. Once a woman is in a monogamous relationship, she may choose to not get the STI screenings anymore unless she has any worries about her reproductive health.
The best way to handle breast cancer is to catch it as fast as possible. There are several ways to do that, including monthly breast self-exams and breast exams done by OB/GYNs during the annual pelvic exam. But those aren't the only way to catch it. A mammogram is also a good way to do it. The mammogram can detect small masses sooner than a self-exam can. The current recommendation is that a woman start getting a mammogram when she is about 40, and should get them at least every 2 years. However, a woman and her doctor may decide that it's better for her to start getting mammograms earlier, especially if there is a risk of breast cancer in the family. In that case, a woman should start getting a mammogram done at the same age as the youngest age any relative was diagnosed. So, if a woman's mother was diagnosed at 50 and her aunt was diagnosed when she was 42, the woman should start getting her mammograms when she was 42.
Making sure that a woman's reproductive services stay as healthy as possible is important, because they are such an important part of a woman's overall health. To learn more, visit a website like http://www.billingsclinic.com.